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Prisimq MediaServer Support For Linux

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the cool-device dept.

Media 142

martinde writes "The Prismiq Media Player is a networked set top box that can play MP3s, streaming media, browse the web, and do other cool stuff. It runs Debian on the dedicated hardware client, but in the past it has required a Windows server on the backend. It looks like now there is beta support for Linux in the backend. Anyone tried this device, with or without Linux?" This is a device that I've been playing with/testing - our sister (Yes, Virginia, they are owned by OSDN) site Thinkgeek sells them. Pretty cool device - reminds me of a XBox Media Player in terms of function, but with less soldering, and a keyboard. I'll be trying the Linux backend server - that would solve one of my major complaints, which is that the media server currently is Windows-only.

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142 comments

And? (-1, Troll)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784206)

So a media server product is for sale. So? There are many other similar products for sale as well. What makes this special?

Re:And? (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784246)

it's available on Thinkgeek, the box is Debian based, there is now a server (back-end) available for Linux (which has oddly enough only been tested on RedHat and SuSE when the box runs Debian?), and it's similar to what you can get w/the XBox for only $100 more (and not quite as much effort or "illegal" behavior).

Does that about answer it?

Re:And? (1)

uberpeon (103837) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785370)

Actually, it works just fine on Debian 3, it just didn't make the readme. And the OS on the MediaPlayer is based on Debian, but custom built for the needs of the MediaPlayer, but hey, who's counting? :)

Re:And? (2, Insightful)

Glamdrlng (654792) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784290)

Lemme get this straight... getting linux to run on a TRS-80 and form a beowulf cluster with a modded atari 2600 is slashdot material, but a linux-based PVR solution isn't?

Re:And? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784354)

Checkout "Audiotron"
http://www.turtlebeach.com/site/products/audiotron /producthome.asp

Its music only, but it doesnt require a TV. Internally, i think its based on WindowsCE, but it uses SMB so any Samba server (including linux) can drive it. Its very slick.

Re:Audiotron (1)

inicom (81356) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784734)

But the hardware quality is poor, the software has stability/lockup problems, it runs WindowsCE, and it's SMB client is not fully compatible with Samba.
Cool idea, poorly implemented.

Re:Audiotron (2, Informative)

tang (179356) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785272)

I had a Rio Receiver, then moved up to the Audiotron.
Hardware quality- I would rate the hardware quality as pretty high. Optical out is nice, the unit feels sturdy, the LCD Display is excellent (I can read it from about 10-15' away easily), the knobs , buttons , switches and remote are all what you'd expect of a decent consumer device.

Software Stability- I'm not sure what you mean here. The unit itself stays on at my house 24/7. I've never had it lockup, and I've never had it go offline for a reason it had anything to do with (ie power outages). I've made it skip perhaps twice, I suspect some kind of weird combination of high network traffic, and high harddrive use of the computer serving it.

SMB- I've used a samba server, and also a windows share box. Neither has caused me any problems at all. What isn't compatible?

The only downside I have is that it takes a long time to initially grab the list of shared files from different computers. You can save this configuration however, and use it to load from so you don't have to do the complete research when your audiotron gets cut off from power. (It takes about 10-15 minutes at least to initially discover 11,000 mp3s and wavs)

The other plus side is the API for the device is available on the turtle beach site, so you can hack together little scripts, or full featured gui in a pretty short amount of time.

Care to explain what your problem with the audiotron was?

Mod parent up. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784363)

Grow a sac, stop mis-moderating posts because your personal feelings get in the way.

Slashdotters want everybody to be so objective. Well, start with yourselves, hypocrites.

Oh no... (5, Funny)

JoeLinux (20366) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784209)

Begin "This is shameless thinkgeek advertising" whining by lamers in 3...2...1...

Re:Oh no... (-1, Flamebait)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784244)

Well, isn't it? What else makes this of any interest? Would this be mentioned if it wans't being sold on thinkgeek?

Nice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784210)

Anybody else get the M$ Windows 2003 server ad under this story?? I love when M$ pays to link to stories about getting rid of their dominance.

First comment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784213)

to bitch about the lack of OGG support

Hopefully... (-1, Flamebait)

Gleng (537516) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784240)

Prisimq MediaServer Support For Linux

Maybe one day there'll be splel cheker support for linux too!

Negative soldering.. hmmm.. (2, Troll)

User 956 (568564) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784266)

Pretty cool device - reminds me of a XBox Media Player in terms of function, but with less soldering, and a keyboard.

Less soldering? How can you have less soldering than *none* [reversetools.org] ? Have you found some way to quantify negative soldering amounts?

Re:Negative soldering.. hmmm.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784348)

Yes, by inserting a hot iron in your anus, you stupid pedantic bastard.

Re:Negative soldering.. hmmm.. (3, Informative)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784456)

I'll one-up you. You don't even have to crack the case. Go to xbox-scene.com and check out the no-mod tutorials.

Re:Negative soldering.. hmmm.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784473)

Why do you have to be an ass about it? Couldn't you have just made an informative post without heaping on the sarcasm?

I'll be you're a dick in meatspace.

Save Money and have fun. (5, Informative)

elinenbe (25195) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784268)

The xbox media player XBMP, can do everything this can do and more. xbox=$179, chip=$20, media player which is constantly updated=free. Plus you can play some fun games.

This is just another ad for thinkgeek crud.

Re:Save Money and have fun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784305)

The xbox media player XBMP, can do everything this can do and more. xbox=$179, chip=$20, media player which is constantly updated=free. Plus you can play some fun games.

Yeah, if you have a DVD burner you can download xbox games via p2p for free.

Re:Save Money and have fun. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784388)

You don't even need a DVD burner. Just upload them to the internal HD. You can fit one or two smaller games on the included 10GB HD or swap it out with a larger drive and you can fit 50-60 games with no problem (on a 120GB drive).

Even if you own the games, ripping them to the HD is the way to go -- faster load times, no fumbling with discs, easy portability if you want to take the unit to a friend's house or lan party or whatever.

Re:Save Money and have fun. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784880)

Or buy a cheap tv card ($30) with a cheap pc, and build your own using mythtv.sf.net or freevo.sf.net. I am pretty sure you can hook those up to a network....

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784273)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Wi Fi option (2, Interesting)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784275)

I *thought* that 802.11a/g wasn't available in Linux as of this time. If this machine runs Debian, where's the drivers? And where can I download them?

Re:Wi Fi option (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784356)

Try http://sourceforge.net/projects/madwifi/ for example, works for me.

No on-box display? (4, Interesting)

Dr. Blue (63477) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784279)


The biggest problem I see with this (or with using an X-box for similar things) is the lack of any display or controls on the box itself. I don't want to have to turn on the TV to listen to music, and I don't really want to have to search for a remote either. Why can't people put a very simple user interface on the front of the box??? Something as simple as the iPod interface would be great and very functional.

Re:No on-box display? (1)

aliens (90441) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784378)

Hrmm, there are those 5" LCD's that you can get for PS2/Xbox, dunno if you can still output audio/video with that hooked up though.

Investigate, I need an excuse to get an xbox (KOTOR) ::)

Re:No on-box display? (4, Insightful)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784397)

Simple -- cost.

Would you be willing to pay an extra $100 for the unit for those features? Do you think the number of people who would be willing to pay an extra $100 outweigh the number of people who would no longer be willing to purchase it? And that $100 is conservative, if anything... the additional material costs, additional programming/UI design, two entirely different methods for accessing the same content, additional QA for both hardware and software, etc.

While I agree that a display and buttons are a good thing, I don't think the additional cost will come out positive in the long run. Especially since the entire point of a networked audio player is that you don't need to walk up to it and plop in a CD to listen to whatever music you want. Like I said, I agree with the advantages of not having to turn on your TV, and it's something I'd like at times, but realistically it's not a winning feature for the price.

If, however, you do want this, and are willing to give up an OSD to the TV, then look into the Turtle Beach AudioTron. Music only (obviously), no video. It does have a small screen on it, with buttons for control. Costs about the same as the Prismiq.

And there's stuff out there that has the OSD, does music/video, has an on-box display, buttons, etc. too. Be prepared to pay upwards of $500 and (often) have all the data storage be on device, with really absurd pricing for expanding storage.

Re:No on-box display? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784552)

While I agree that a display and buttons are a good thing, I don't think the additional cost will come out positive in the long run

Many have tried, but none have had commercial success in trying to turn the TV into a computer, or vice versa [theonion.com] .

Personally I am much more interested in products that are coming up with new kinds of user interfaces that actually fit the way people want to use media (or course Tivo is the best exmaple for video). If you want to look at a gadget that REALLY does music right, take a look at the SLIMP3 [slimdevices.com] . GPL'd server handles all the music catalogue and UI work, with a stateless client that can go in any room (not just with the TV). It's really the only product in this category that actually works as advertised and is not a pain to set up and use (just unloaded my Audiotron on Ebay - got three Slims now and I love 'em!).

Re:No on-box display? (1)

Dr. Blue (63477) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785652)

Yes, I'd pay a little extra, but $100 is way off the mark.

I have a portable CD/MP3 player (plays MP3s off CDs) by Panasonic. For under $60 it has a reasonable control and LCD display in addition to the CD reading mechanism and software to actually play the MP3s. The marginal cost for the actual control/display part of that system is probably $10, tops.

So yes, I sure as hell would pay $10 to have that kind of control on a component-style piece of equipment!

Re:No on-box display? (1)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785974)

Simple -- increased sales

Don't you think they wouldn't mind dropping their profit margin a little (per unit) if they would increase the number of sales?

There is a market for a device described. Just like there was one for the iPod. Demand is there. Supply simply is not.

Re:No on-box display? (3, Interesting)

smartin (942) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784465)

I agree, my main stereo system is not in the same room as my tv. I'm currently using an old rio receiver to do the job but would like to have something better. A ps2 or xbox (running linux) seem like an attractive solution but i need to be able to control it without a tv.

One option is to have the box run a web server and control it from a laptop or maybe a small handheld device such as ipaq or palm pilot, or maybe even one of those lcd screen remote controls. All of which of course adds to the cost and complexity of the system.

Re:No on-box display? (2, Informative)

krow (129804) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784653)

You might want to look at a SliMP3 [slimp3.com] . I have one and adore it. The display is large enough to read across the room and it makes zero noise (unlike a computer). I use its remote, but find that if I am sitting near my laptop that I will just use the browser interface.

Re:No on-box display? (2, Interesting)

whyde (123448) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785101)

Why doesn't any device which serves up AUDIO use an AUDIO-based navigation system... it could be as dumb as a simple voice synthesizer telling you what you are scrolling through, instead of an expensive LCD.

Will it play back my ripped DVDs? (2, Interesting)

rabbar (694056) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784299)

With a wireless 802.11g card and the ability to play back a ripped DVD it would make a great video jukebox.

Re:Will it play back my ripped DVDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784337)

XBOX media player will play ripped DVDs. And with the modded xbox, you can still play xbox games normally.

These days, you don't even need a modchip. Just do the software hack.

Re:Will it play back my ripped DVDs? (1)

Mike Miller (28248) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785177)

Other users have stated that it does, but check the user forums [prismiq.org] for more details (try here [prismiq.org] and here [prismiq.org] ). I've only been messing around with audio at the present time, so I can't provide any first-hand knowledge.

- Mike

Sigh. No component out. (3, Insightful)

renehollan (138013) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784316)

Kind of useless for streaming my archived DVDs at 480p to my TV, or for later streaming HD content at 720P or 1080i from the same home server.

Such products frustrate me to no end, because the idea is good, but the execution is poor.

Then again, these limitations might have something to do with tyhe influence of the MPAA w.r.t. playblack resulution via analog outputs (still, that doesn't explain not having component out at at least 480p).

Re:Sigh. No component out. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784394)

XBOX media player does component out. It also does progressive scan. $179 for the xbox + $20-$40 is still cheaper than this prismiq thing, and it plays divx, xvid, and future codecs (it's constantly updated), supports MP3, OGG, AAC, + AC3, and has no region protection for playing DVDs.

Re:Sigh. No component out. (1)

renehollan (138013) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784486)

I haven't been following XBox development much... is it capable of 720p and 1080i output? Also, does it have H/W accelerated MPEG2-decoding supported under Linux (my guess is "yes" to H/W decoding, but "no" to supported under Linux).

I've always found the XBox clunky in terms of form factor -- I want a thin client to be, well, thin.

Re:Sigh. No component out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784590)

If I'm correct it can do 1080i but not 720p. It probably cannot do those under linux(yet), but there's no real reason to. The Xbox media player app is open source, but doesn't run on linux it runs straight off the Xbox. It's also surprisingly full featured and polished.

Re:Sigh. No component out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784591)

It'll do 720p and 1080i [216.239.33.104] . Supported under linux? I'm not sure what you mean. Xbox media player is a program you run on your xbox, not on a computer. (you can run it from a burned disc, or off the xbox hard drive)

Xbox media player can read SMB shares with MPEG files in them, so if you have samba, that'll work.

Re:Sigh. No component out. (1)

John Hurliman (152784) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785888)

* Begin shameless self promotion *

If you are looking for high quality upscaling, a variety of output options AND a software base built on Linux entirely under the GPL, take a look at my URL (Focus Theater [focustheater.com] ).

* End shameless self promotion *

On sale at buy.com only $189 (3, Informative)

A Commentor (459578) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784319)

buy.com has this on sale for only $189 after $50 mail-in rebate. It's their 'price mistake of the day' item. There is currently a free shipping coupon available at my site. See link below in my signiture to find the coupon.

Re:On sale at buy.com only $189 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784371)

Hey thanks!

Re:On sale at buy.com only $189 (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784381)

How is it $189? buy.com has it for $249, even with a $50 off coupon (which I don't see) it would still be $199. Thanks!

Re:On sale at buy.com only $189 (1)

A Commentor (459578) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784412)

Look at their 'Price mistake of the Day' off their front page. It lists it at $239..

Re:On sale at buy.com only $189 (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784440)

Thank you so much!!! You just saved me a bundle. I am planning on getting 10 of these for my project...

Re:On sale at buy.com only $189 (1)

A Commentor (459578) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784542)

You're welcome (just be sure to click through the coupon on my site, I would like the affiliate credit ;-) ) ...
Be aware that the rebate is "Limit one rebate per name, address, receipt or household.", and it's ONLY valid today.

Re:On sale at buy.com only $189 (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784585)

Yes I did! Thanks a lot, if I had bought at ThinkGeek I would be out a lot of money...

Nice Failure, ASSHOLE! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784384)

Wow!

that's a wonderful link in your signature.

You know,,

your signature is so good, it is see through.

YOU ASSHOLE.

STOP POSTING.

MS Worms (1)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784323)

At least we know that our home entertainment center is once again immune to some stupid farking windows worms....

Next, maybe we can look at other trivial things, such as the SCADA systems that run utilities, and the komputarmaschines that are used by the Dept. Of Defense, IRS, CIA, etc...

Actually... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784765)

Most of the SCADA systems are ancient affairs, not even capable of running Windows- and most of them aren't even on the Internet.

You don't need to worry about a MS Worm bringing about a massive nation-wide blackout.

You DO need to worry about terrorists taking control of a couple of substations by remote through the unsecured SCADA system or by physical means. Control of a substation means you can induce things like brownouts and blackouts in a given area serviced by the substation. Get control of enough of them and the recent blackouts on the east coast would pale by comparison.

Not quite what I'm looking for (3, Interesting)

selderrr (523988) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784330)

to many features that I wont use. For my movies, I got a DVD player. For IM, I rather use my computer since reading text from TV is too painfull for my eyes. For mp3s, I want something that fits my home stereo equipment and connects to my iTunes library (AAC + playlists).

This brings me to the related question : why is there so little hardware available that plugs into my home stereo (a Marantz system in our living room, pretty decent and it used to cost me half a leg so I'd rather not replace/extend it with a computer that takes up to much space and would just sit there doing nothing in a hidden corner) and in my airport network ? All I really want is a stereo tower box that is stylish, fits my stereo and performs the features of my iPod (okay, forget parachute) without having to haul my iMac to the living room. the iTrip is one way to go, but I would prefer something that goes wirelessly straight to my music library.

Could it be that too many hardware vendors are tied to much to the recording industry, which still considers mp3 pretty much illegal ?

Re:Not quite what I'm looking for (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784474)

Uhhh. You whine about there being no MP3 players that will intgrate into your stereo setup, when there are infact hundreds of such products that will do fine. Then, you want it to play your Apple propritary AAC encoded music. Brain check on isle 5.

I'm sorry, pal. I like Apple products too, but if you insist on being so hung up on them, then you're never going to find a stereo component that's going to turn your crank.... Unless it's made by Apple and includes the standard apple "iSomething" nomenclature. Maybe, just for you, they'll call it the i'Mtoostupidtosetupastereo.

If you so badly want something that replicates the functions of your iPod, get another damn one, and stop bitching.

Re:Not quite what I'm looking for (2, Informative)

Nexzus (673421) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784477)

The Audiotron [audiotron.net] , from Turtle Beach. It can play MP3's up to 320 kbps, uncompressed WAV's and streaming radio stations. It has an optical connection, and a front display and remote. The only thing it doesn't have is native wireless, but that wasn't a problem for me. It's a fantastic device, and fits right at home with modern, black stereo equipment.

Re:Not quite what I'm looking for (-1, Redundant)

Slicky (71803) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784888)

You might look at the SLIMP3 player [slimp3.com] .
  • plugs into your stereo
  • support for iTunes
  • broad OS support
I love my slim!

Re:Not quite what I'm looking for (1)

selderrr (523988) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785760)

hmm.. that slimp3 looks nice indeed. To bad they have so few photos of it on their site. AFAICS, it looks like it's build-in equipment... That means damaging my walls, which I really don't like. In that aspect, the audiotron seems a nicer setup. But the audiotron has no AAC support (slimp3 neither according to the specs, but seems more nerd-driven so perhaps they move towards AAC sooner) and their windows-oriented setup is a drawback too

Semes I'll have some thinking to do, but untill true AAC support is guaranteed, I'll have to wait anyway. Thanks for the info guys !

Re:Not quite what I'm looking for (1)

krb (15012) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785052)

as slicky said, slimp3 is the cleanest, most easily integrated component for this purpose. the server is perl, iirc, so it should run on your mac, and it's not impossible that it includes, or will soon include, the ability to transcode from AAC to MP3 on the fly. I know it can do this with OGG.

The slimp3 has an ethernet jack, so if you need it wireless, you may be up a creek, unless you can find an ethernet-to-wifi bridge that's reasonably priced.

Uhhh... You spelled the product name wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784358)

Prismiq nor Prisimq

Complex sentence construction (3, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784376)

This is a device that I've been playing with/testing - our sister (Yes, Virginia, they are owned by OSDN) site Thinkgeek sells them. Pretty cool device - reminds me of a XBox Media Player in terms of function, but with less soldering, and a keyboard. I'll be trying the Linux backend server - that would solve one of my major complaints, which is that the media server currently is Windows-only.

*clap *clap* -- Another wonderful, gramatically correct, hyphen/(parenthesis)-laden sentence from a /. (slashdot (Thinkgeek's sister site)) editor. I, (for one--ofcourse), thought he was talking about playing with his sister (or something )--but that was before before I managed to read it through.

Re:Complex sentence construction (0)

floodo1 (246910) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785046)

did you know that if you have 100% correct grammar you win something amazing!?!?!?!?!?

its called NOTHING

Pa1m (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784382)

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Windows Required? (0, Redundant)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784396)

"PRISMIQ MediaManager software requires Win98SE or later..."

You mean I have to run crappy Windows to get this working???? Please confirm.

Re:Windows Required? (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784434)

You mean I have to run crappy Windows to get this working???? Please confirm.

You can use crappy Windows (95-98), or you can use good Windows (2K-XP). Either will work.

Re:Windows Required? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784732)

All Windows is crappy Windows.

-uso.

Re:Windows Required? (2, Funny)

frostbane (660953) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784461)

Well, if you read the post you will see that they are currently experimenting with linux. Which means they probably will have to change the requirements to Win98SE or better...

Re:Windows Required? (1)

Mike Miller (28248) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785124)

Unfortunately, you do have to have a windows box to "bootstrap" the media configuration files. But after you have the configuration files, you don't need the windows box anymore, and your linux box can do all the actual serving of media to the prismiq client.

The prismiq folks said that they will be working on a media configuration file creation code for linux, but I'm guessing that it's a bit lower on their list of priorities right now. To keep up to speed on prismiq developments, check out the prismiq forums and user website [prismiq.org] .

(yes, I've actually done this and have it working at home)

- Mike

Read the user reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784493)

According to the User reviews (the poor souls who actually bought this device) the unit is pure CRAP. Don't listen to this hype. Who cares if it runs Linux, it's unbearably SLOW according to some reviews I have read awhile back. I was actually considering this too.

Live Video Review/Demo by Seattle Wireless (3, Informative)

Prizm (52977) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784505)

This product was actually covered in a previous slashdot story from a couple of months ago, seen here. [slashdot.org] . The Seattle Wireless group reviews this product, gives a live video demonstration of it, and basically describes how it works. You can see the video here [seattlewireless.net] under the July archive. It's the last segment in the video.

It is a good start, but not all there yet (2, Informative)

Old time hacker (302793) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784522)

I just got a Prismiq, and I have to say that for playing MP3 files, it isn't there yet. In order to run the linux server, you have to install on windows first, import the media files and then copy some control files over to windows. The bad news is that the server on windows is a bit flaky when dealing with large numbers of files. The documentation says that the limit is 50k files, and I am nowhere close to that.

The UI doesn't make it easy to find anything as it all based around a flat list of 'playlists'. I suspect that the model is that you are supposed to construct playlists on the PC and then import those. *WRONG* This is supposed to be a consumer device that is no more complex than a cable box to operate.

By comparison, I also have two Rio Receivers ($99 each) being controlled by jreceiver (runs on Linux). These boxes only do MP3s and have a (small) LCD display builtin. They support hierarchical navigation by album/artist/genre/etc. This actually makes it possible to play all your 'Pink Floyd' (or whatever). With the right firmware, the Rio also supports a jukebox mode where you can add new tracks/playlists to the current queue.

The good news is that the Prismiq people appear to be actively developing the product, so there is hope.

Slimp3 - Sweet Interface, Just for music (1)

keihin (135644) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784543)

for similar device (for music) that has it's own screen see slimdevices.com for the Slimp3 player.

Hmm. (1)

usotsuki (530037) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784562)

I guess this answers the eternal question...

"Does it run on Linux?"

Seriously though I think it's only a good thing that this box uses one of the most hardcore of all Linux distros in its core (hmm, maybe SourceMage GNU/Linux [sourcemage.org] is more aimed at the hardcore Linuxer, and let's not forget Gentoo), and now, finally, the back end is being ported to Linux. An all-Linux solution is only a good thing!

-uso.

No DVD Player.. Uh... I'll take XBMP. (2, Insightful)

ZZane (144066) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784579)

DVD-ROMs can be had for ~$30 or less retail now. I'd buy the unit right now if it could do everything it claims (well) and play media off of a DVD or CD (including true DVDs). As it is right now I'd still have to have two boxes to do virtually the same thing.

Know what can accomplish all this for $200 or less? The X-Box with XBMP (X-Box Media Player) and the DVD remote can do everything this unit can AND it can play DVDs (even in progressive scan mode with some hacking) and it can be done with software hacks. I bought an X-Box specifically for this and it works wonderfully. I just don't play any games on it or use X-Box live so I avoid MS patching their wonderful dashboard holes. :)

Re:No DVD Player.. Uh... I'll take XBMP. (2, Insightful)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784995)

The majority of people already have dvd players though, but they don't have streaming music/video players. I don't want my streaming device to also play dvd's. I'd rather have separate devices so I can upgrade items when I want to and not run the risk of losing functionality.

This device has next to no CPU power (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784587)

...at least by modern standards. The PD61130 MPEG2 Decoder [necelam.com] , as NEC calls it, provides 200 Dhrystone MIPS at 167 MHz / 160 MIPS at 133 MHz using an "Integrated high-performance CPU: NEC MIPS(R)-based VR4120A(TM) core". Note that these are MIPS, or Meaningless Indicators of Processor Speed. Meaningless why? They're produced by benchmarks! Anyway, it only supports up to 64MB of SDRAM... Thinkgeek's "specifications" says the processor is a "NEC uPD61130 32-bit MIPS microprocessor with integrated MPEG decoder", but they don't bother to mention that it's an MPEG2 decoder, not MPEG2+4.

They say the device plays DivX, but since it doesn't have an MPEG4 decoder, it all has to be done in software, and I'm skeptical about the device's ability to play high-bitrate MPEG4 (DivX, XVid, others) streams. And while they say that the device will be easily extensible to support future formats, if they are anything like MPEG4, then it certainly won't be fast enough to play them.

MIPS [mips.com] is kind enough to provide a newsletter [mips.com] which comes up in a search for "4210A" which contains the following interesting paragraph:

EMMArchitecture2 is designed for mid/high-end STB/ DTV applications such as Personal Video Recorders (PVR) and wireless IP STBs. It uses the NEC-designed MIPS CPU 4120A, plus NEC's original audio DSP, versatile stream processing engine and ATA I/F, together with a PCI bus. This unique architecture allows not only a single-chip, mid-range PVR configuration, which is controlled by an on-chip 200-mips 4120A CPU, but also a high-end, multi-chip STB configuration, which utilizes a PCI to connect an external high-performance CPU such as NEC's 500-mips, MIPS-based(TM) VR5500A CPU, together with a PCI bus bridge.

But, as the specifications [prismiq.com] for the PrismIQ [prismiq.com] show, they are not in fact including a VR5500A, just the VR4120A-based PD61130. I assume this plays the majority of MPEG4 content today, or else they wouldn't be selling it, but as bitrates rise, I believe that they will be in trouble.

Note that I have never seen let alone tested one of these, so I am just wanking in the dark here, but it doesn't seem likely to really provide the necessary longetivity. We all know that amazing things can be done with a 200MHz MIPS chip, go ait down at an SGI Indy sometime if you don't believe me, but I think the lack of an MPEG4 decoder will hurt them in the long run. There are numerous MPEG4 hardware solutions available today, and unfortunately, they did not see fit to use any of them.

Re:This device has next to no CPU power (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6784637)

The device doesn't play other video formats internally. The media server software does a 'transcode' of the video from the original format to MPEG1/2 when sending to the device. That's why it puts such hefty requirements on the 'server' computer since it (potentially) does more than just hand out files.

Re:This device has next to no CPU power (3, Informative)

glitch! (57276) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785296)

They say the device plays DivX, but since it doesn't have an MPEG4 decoder, it all has to be done in software, and I'm skeptical about the device's ability to play high-bitrate MPEG4 (DivX, XVid, others) streams.

The MPEG4/DivX streams are decoded in software, but on the server PC. I just now tested a decent quality (about 700kb/s) DivX movie on my 1700 Athlon, and the utilization was just under 20%. Sure, that's a lot of CPU cycles on one hand, but on the other hand for anyone who has a relatively recent PC, it's not a burden either.

Re:This device has next to no CPU power (1)

Cyno (85911) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785726)

What moron would assign hardware to decode video codecs?

Oh, nevermind.

Good in theory, lacking in execution (2, Informative)

Mike Miller (28248) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785025)

I've actually got one of these and am running the linux server right now, so hopefully I'm qualified to make a few comments :-) If you have specific questions, feel free to drop me a line.

First, the theory behind this device is fairly good. There's limited processing on the client device, and the heavy lifting gets done by the server, the way things ought to be.

The actual configuration files are human-readable with a little bit of effort, and I've even hacked mine up with some success to redo playlists to make more sense.

The bad news is that for large collections of audio (and probably also video) the playlist navigation on the client is really unacceptable. There's only a single level of playlists, so you can't do a lot of things that you would normally do with a hierarchial setup that makes navigating easy. The other problem is that scrolling through the playlists is very, very slow, so in reality a old Rio receiver is faster to navigate, which is a real bummer since I got mine in hopes of having a clean replacement for the Rio's lackluster playlist navigation :-(

On the positive side, they have a user site prismiq.org [prismiq.org] with good forums that a number of users have been using to communicate how to make limited improvements on both the client and server side. I do think it shows a lot of promise, but don't expect it to be an out-of-the-box instant solution to your media problems...

- Mike

Almost (1)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785027)

The thing that annoys me about this device (and most of the streaming music devices) is how they access your music library. You usually need to install some piece of software on your windows/linux box in order for the device to work. That is such a stupid way to do it. You should be able to use windows shares and the device should work off of those. No extra software to install for you or to support for them. It just works. This is one of the reasons the Audiotron is so awesome. But the Audiotron only has a 10mbit connection and doesn't have on screen control or support video.

no vga, dvi (1)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785048)

The box would be great if I could hook it to a monitor ( or modern TV) to it, not to an old TV like my Atari 400.

Yet another set-top box. (2, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785156)

Workable price. Usable feature set.

Don't plan on being able to surf the web or really be able to do IM with this toy unless you've got a top of the line TV.

NTSC television has an average effective resolution of something like 480x480. If you've got a decent TV, that is. A higher quality set may have as much as 512x480 and a lower quality set will have something along the lines of 320x240 resolution- many televisions are at THAT resolution. While you can get a 640x480 scanline converter to allow you to display pictures, etc. on any TV set, the effective resolution trims the edges of the image on the screen and makes it blurry as all get-out on over half of the TV's out there.

Re:Yet another set-top box. (1)

unsung (10704) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785460)

Sorry, your figures are off (at least in my experience). Lower resolutions may refer to certain encoding methods to reduce streaming bandwidth, or VHS resolution, but NTSC itself is 640x480. Some TV chips will cut some resolution (One chip that I worked with output 640x440), and some chips will give you the option to change resolution. Further, the edges of the TV screen will cut off some resolution, but you're really not looking at more than 4-8 pixels.

This is easily tested by designing a webpage that is 640x480, and viewing through a set-top.

Even so, surfing on 640x480 is pretty annoying. A lot of webpages are designed for at least 800x600 (if not more).

Thinkgeek Special: ElectroSuck 5000! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6785168)

Thinkgeek: overpriced, overratted, and overhyped.
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Use Q-Cast Media Player (2, Informative)

Brew Bird (59050) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785190)

This will be out in stores shortly as the Game Shark Media Player...

Supports Linux!!!

Works with your PS/2... GREAT PICTURE on my big screen, lots of features, plays DivX,Xvid,mp3s and still picture slide show...

A STEAL at $50....

[GameShark|BroadQ] Media Player (2, Interesting)

christooley (215314) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785259)

Run Linux, Windows, Mac, whatever on the backend, use your PS2 on the front end. Even use the handy DVD remote. Available from BroadQ [broadq.com] or shortly from GameShark [gameshark.com] it has all the functionality I can glean from the Prismi?q box without yet another piece of hardware.

QCast Tuner works FB on PS2 (2, Interesting)

theoldmoose (553227) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785536)

If you already have a PS2, just stick a network interface on it ($30), and get the QCast Tuner software ($50) from BroadQ [broadq.com] .

Their server runs on Java, and will work on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

Turns the PS2 into a nice multimedia platform.

Re:QCast Tuner works FB on PS2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6785791)

it's now caled gameshark mediaplayer, and will be sold in stores next week!

XBox needs no soldering (1)

terminal.dk (102718) | more than 10 years ago | (#6785591)

The XBox needs no soldering to run all sorts of software. I run Xbox Media Player from harddrive of a purely softmodded xbox.

There is the 007 savegame hack, and when you are there you can use the Font hack to allow the machine to boot evox from harddisk, and phoenix loader to load any ROM from harddisk as well.

I have yet to see any set-top box that can do what XBMP can do on the xbox.
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